Review Summary: A bizzare but thoroughly gratifying concoction.
Belying their somewhat misleading moniker, Russkaja are a seven piece genre-blending collective hailing from Vienna, Austria. Proving more faithful to the title of this album however, Kosmopoliturbo
is a melting pot of European musical culture, featuring melodic and rhythmic influences from a variety of distinct regions throughout the continent. Their most prominent and foundational style of course derives from the Motherland herself, manifesting in their mixture of traditional Russian folk music with everything from ska punk to blues rock. A seamless example of this is demonstrated by the energetic number ‘Alive’ which utilises an impressive transition from its polka-dominated hook into a distinctly poppy electronic break, itself punctuated by intermittent shouts of “hey!” - downright appropriate for a Russian jig.
Further diversifying the experience, front man and former Stahlhammer vocalist Georgij Makazaria takes full advantage of his polyglot status, and whilst the majority of the lyrics are sung in gravelly English there’s a sizeable smattering of tracks featuring German, Italian, Russian and French prose. Elsewhere, Russkaja flaunt their orchestral side, championed on ditties such as album highlight Cheburaschka which alternates a choppy syllabic chorus with busy trumpet and potete interplay. The lyrical references to the eponymous Russian TV show are a charming addition - a simple example of the engaging variety and detail displayed throughout the album, made even more impressive by the septet’s flawless execution on every level. So if you're searching for a jaunty album that is immediately enjoyable, but with a hearty substance that benefits from extra attention, don't look past Kosmopoliturbo